Directorate of criminal investigations (DCI) detectives is combing through procurement documents with a view to preferring charges to 349 companies that irregularly tendered for the provision of labour and transport services at Kenya Power.
Kenya Power managing director Ken Tarus on Tuesday told the National Assembly committee on Energy that the DCI had been called in after an internal audit revealed that 18 sacked staff were involved in procurement malpractices.
“Apart from sacking the officers and blacklisting the 349 contractors, we have also had the Directorate of criminal investigations come in and are carrying out investigations on the employees, contractors and directors of companies who were involved. The outcome of the investigations is not known but the DCI could be looking at the possibility of charging those found culpable,” Dr Tarus said.
Dr Tarus appeared before the MPs to shed light on the internal audit report that was triggered by complaints raised by contractors who lost out in the tender for prequalified contractors.
The audit also alleged that the firm’s tender committee members were colluding with staff to award tenders, denying Kenyans opportunities.
Dr Tarus has since disbanded the committee and suspended its members.
“This issue revolves around list of contractors. We did a report out of concerns that we received from some contractors that appeared to have been locked out when we carried tender KPI/9/AA-2/OT/58/BJT/1617for prequalification of L and T contractors (Labour and Contractors),” Dr Tarus said.
He said after the conclusion of the tender, Kenya Power prequalified 525 contractors but the internal audit discovered 349 contractors did not meet criteria for prequalification.
“The audit revealed that there were a number of staff involved in the exercise. We had staff members who were also the key staff of some contractors which is against Kenya Power employee code of conduct which we have all signed,” Dr Tarus told the committee chaired by Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria
He said some of the 349 companies that did not meet pre-qualification criteria presented fake National Construction Authority (NCA) certificates as well as CR 12 certificates.
“We decided to terminate an award of 349 out of 525 contractors. Staff who were involved went through the internal disciplinary mechanism and 18 out of 19 staff were dismissed. One was not involved in the procurement malpractices exercise,” he said.
He said several blacklisted companies had fronted Kenya Power staff as its employees while tendering for the contract.
Endebes MP Robert Pukose demanded to know why the 18 staff members had not been charged in court for flouting the procurement laws by awarding themselves contracts.